Fri 27 Jan 2012
Last week I provided some postscripts from my trip to London in November. I continued browsing through my notes and realized that I had not posted about many things I “found” on the Italy leg of the same trip. So as today’s “Postscript” for a cold Friday in January, I am going to share some of these Italian finds with you.
The amazing balsamic vinegars of Giusti
The big revelation for me on my trip to Italy was the discovery (to me anyway) that not all balsamic vinegars are created equally. I have had many varieties of balsamic through the years and was a little dubious when presented with the 30-year-aged balsamic vinegars of Giusti. OMG! I was tasting a whole new world – new taste buds awakened on my tongue. But alas, the €80 for just a few ounces made me think I can’t obsess about Giusti, but make a note of it for a future special occasion.
While in Rome and Florence I enjoyed watching all the scooters in the streets. I have always had the fantasy of driving a scooter around Rome (ala Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday), but when I saw how scary that actually was in the crazy Roman traffic, I decided to stay on the sidewalk. But I love the whole scooter thing, and in particular I love the look and culture surrounding vintage Vespas. I satisfied my Vespa thing by taking a lot of pictures of the scooters in the streets and by buying some postcards featuring vintage Vespas – much like what you can see and purchase at Café Press.
FOUND: Sogni in Carta – Florence
While in Florence, I fell in love with the amazing leatherwork that is synonymous with Tuscany. In particular, I loved the leather-bound books and journals found in the many stationary stores I popped into. I purchase some lovely Italian-made stationary at on these stores made by Sogni in Carta, “a company that makes products in leather and hand painted Florentine paper using methods inspired by traditional Tuscan workmanship.” Very cool stuff.
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Azienda Agraria
To balance my afore mentioned balsamic crush, I also formed strong feelings for many of the local olive oils I tasted on the trip to Umbria and Tuscany. One of the best of which was the Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Azienda Agraria, which was drizzled over a particularly good caprese salad while dining in Spello, Umbria.
I couldn’t end this postscript post without mentioning the candy of Amarelli. Although I am not the biggest candy fan, Amarelli makes the most exquisite looking candy and very Italian at that. Most of the Amarelli candies come packaged in very neat little tins. Very cool.
From my November 2011 trip to Italy – one of the courses during one of the best meals I ever had, it Spello, Umbria: